Page last updated at 13:15 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 14:15 UK

Woman's surprise over banana crop

Novelette Childs with her banana plant (picture: County Times newspaper)
Novelette Childs is delighted with her bananas (picture: County Times)

A woman has surprised gardening experts by growing bananas in her back garden in Powys during the wet and blustery British summer.

Novelette Childs, from Newtown, said she had grown the plant to remind her of her native Jamaica.

More tropical plants are surviving in the UK now because of global warming, according to horticulturists.

But Laura Davies of the National Botanic Garden of Wales said it was unusual to grow tropical fruit outside.

Mother-of-four Mrs Childs said her plant had flowered and fruit was forming, but she confessed to being amazed because it had been such a wet summer.

"I care for my tropical plants here a lot more than I would if I lived back in Jamaica, because over there you just stick a plant in the ground and it grows," Mrs Childs, 52, explained.

I suppose I've come up with my own tropical paradise
Novelette Childs

"To be honest, I thought it was going to be absolutely impossible, but it's worked."

Laura Davies, head of horticulture at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, said mild winters and wet summers meant more exotic plants were surviving in the UK.

"It's still quite unusual to produce a fruit such as a banana outside, especially after the wet summer we've had," explained Ms Davies.

Pat Causton, a horticultural technician at Aberystwyth University, added: "A few years ago I would have said growing bananas in the UK would have been very unusual.

"But because of global warming it's not that unusual anymore. However, although it's fairly common to grow the plant outdoors, it is still rare for that plant to produce fruit so this is quite an unusual case."

Mrs Childs also grows other tropical plants at her home including ginger, ferns and palms.

Her green-fingered experiment was inspired by her brother back in Jamaica.

"When I first moved to the UK many years ago I used to tell him how cold it was and I used to get stressed out by the fog and mist," said Mrs Childs.

"My brother suggested I grew a few tropical plants to remind me of home and my hobby has grown from there.

"My plants alleviate stress and help me relax. I suppose I've come up with my own tropical paradise."




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